The day Sir Geoff played for Halstead!

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ENGLAND World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst being drafted into a Halstead Town Reserve match, due to a player not turning up, is just one of a treasure trove of facts revealed about the club in a new book.

The day Alan Brazil and Alan Ball both turned out for Halstead in a testimonial at Rosemary Lane, and when 2,300 people crammed into the ground to see reigning FA Amateur Cup winners Walthamstone Avenue visit, who included England cricketer Trevor Bailey in their side, are just two more fascinating tales.

More than 130 years of history of the Essex club has been put to paper by former secretary and local newspaper sports editor Dave Osborne.

A History of Halstead Town Football Club 1879-2010 was due to be officially launched at Halstead’s match with Swaffham Town last Saturday, but the game fell victim to a water-logged pitch. And by the time Rosemary Lane hosts its next first-team game, high-flying Whitton United on March 1 (3pm) the popularity of the book will likely have seen it go through a second print run, just to keep up with demand.

Author Osbourne, who has written a number of historical books about aircraft and the Halstead area, said: “I have sold nearly half (of 100 copies) already and there has not been a game down the ground yet!

“I will have to get some more printed in a second edition.”

The book, which took a year to put together for 75-year-old Osborne, who along with his grandfather, father, uncles and borthers clocked up close to 1,000 games between them, chronicles the club’s birth up until the present day, and the recent opening of the Halstead Town Football Academy, with youth players from Ramsey College and Hedingham School.

Other stories in the book include Halstead winning their first ever competitive match in 1892 and why they had to find a new ground as their Kings Road home was temporarily used for allotments.

The book is currently available, priced at £8, or £9 including post and packaging, by calling Osbourne on 01787 475604.